Governor Cuomo Announces 36th Proposal of the 2017 State of the State: Growing New York's 21st Century Workforce and Advancing the Tech Economy

Governor Cuomo announced a plan to advance the State’s educational institutions, workforce investments, and economic development initiatives.

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Governor calls upon new tech workforce task force to modernize K-12 education, college curricula, workforce and economic development initiatives.

Photo by: Governor's Press Office.

Albany, NY - January 12, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a comprehensive plan to advance the State’s educational institutions, workforce investments, and economic development initiatives to ensure New York’s communities thrive in a 21st century economy. The proposal is part of the Governor’s 2017 State of the State agenda and proposes a series of investments designed to equip every New Yorker for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and make New York a national leader in building the nation’s most diverse and robust innovation economy.​

“New York State's technology industry is among the fastest growing and highest paying in the country, and these investments will expand access to quality, 21st century jobs,” Governor Cuomo said. “Transforming our educational institutions, workforce investments, and economic development initiatives will ensure that our students, our workers, and our businesses thrive in the nation’s leading innovation economy.”

The Governor’s 21st century comprehensive workforce plan will:

  • Create the Tech Workforce Training Fund to Equip New Yorkers for 21st Century Jobs
  • Establish the New York Tech Workforce Development Task Force
  • Create Additional Early College High Schools to Provide Disadvantaged Students Opportunities in Tech Sector
  • Expand NYS Master Teacher Program to Designate a Special Cohort Dedicated to Computer Science Teachers
  • Incentivize Employers with Tax Credit for Incumbent Worker Training

$5.3 Million to Expand New York’s Successful Early College High School Programs
Early College High Schools provide high-performing, at-risk students the opportunity to receive hands-on training, a free associate’s degree and first-in-line job opportunities upon graduating. Studies show that students who attend these schools are more likely to complete college than their peers.

The state will invest an additional $5.3 million to expand Early College High School Programs, such as the nationally recognized Pathways in Technology Early College High School program to include pathways to education and employment in the tech sector, with an emphasis on computer science education. This investment will create 10 new Early College High Schools in New York State and make New York the global leader in P-TECH student enrollment.

Early College High School Programs prepare students for jobs in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and finance, by bringing together public school districts, major employers, and institutions of higher education. High school students study under an industry-aligned curriculum, earn an associate degree at no cost to their families, and are first in line for jobs with participating companies upon graduation. This initiative will also support New York’s efforts to transform failing schools, giving high schools that identified as failing or persistently failing preference in starting Early College High School Programs.

$2 Million to Expand the NYS Master Teacher Program
To build on the success of the Master Teacher Program and attract more teachers in tech fields, the state will invest $2 million to create a new cohort of 115 teachers grades K-12, specifically in Computer Science. Current master teachers will help mentor the new cohort to ensure the most innovative teacher practices in the STEM fields are shared across all grades and regions.

Master Teachers receive a $15,000 stipend per year over four years of participation, and pledge to engage in peer mentoring, participate in and lead professional development activities, and work closely with pre-service and early career teachers to foster a supportive environment for the next generation of Science Technology Engineering and Math teachers.

The New York State Master Teacher Program was launched in 2013 by Governor Cuomo to recognize the state's highest performing teachers – ensuring the best and brightest stay in the classroom and share their expertise with peers and pre-service teachers. To date, more than 800 Master Teachers across all ten regions of the state have been selected.

Support K-12 Computer Science Education
Computer Science opens the door to the most in-demand 21st century occupations in New York and throughout the country, yet the majority of public schools do not offer Computer Science in the classroom. To equip students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, New York State must first train its teachers to deliver computer science education in classrooms across the state.

To expand students’ access to this field, Governor Cuomo will launch a public-private partnership to help train educators across the state to teach computer science. The state will offer professional development opportunities for teachers, and modernize the curriculum to advance computer science education across New York State so that all students have the opportunity to succeed in 21st century careers.

$5 Million Tech Workforce Training Fund
The Governor will launch the first-ever New York Tech Workforce Training Fund – a $5 million fund designed to support innovative training and education solutions delivering New Yorkers into tech jobs, from software engineers to data scientists.

Tech Workforce Training Fund will leverage up to $5 million of discretionary Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds to deliver industry-informed tech training and connect eligible individuals to employment in what are among the state's fastest growing and highest paying occupations in New York State. The Training Fund will be disbursed to training providers through an RFP process, reviewed and informed by industry leaders.

New York Tech Workforce Development Task Force
Governor Cuomo will launch the New York Tech Workforce Task Force, a body of industry experts, academic leaders, and state officials who will inform New York’s K-12, college, workforce and economic development investments and ensure their continued alignment with 21st century workforce demands. The Tech Workforce Task Force will deliver recommendations to modernize curricula at education institutions, create a more effective workforce training system for technology occupations in high demand, and lay a foundation for a workforce strategy that is responsive to the ever-changing technology workforce needs. Its work will engage industry leaders in defining workforce needs, building the localized training and education solutions to meet these needs, and informing workforce investments and educational alignment efforts statewide.

Incumbent Worker Training Tax Credit
A skilled and adaptable workforce is vital for New York companies to thrive in the 21st century economy. Today, business processes evolve at a rapid pace, and enhancing employee skills has become a crucial component of meeting market demands. To help employers invest in New York’s workforce, Governor Cuomo will overhaul Empire State Development’s Employee Training Incentive Program. The revised program will incentivize companies to include incumbent worker training as part of their expansion and retention projects, without a requirement to create new jobs. Businesses will be eligible for Excelsior Tax Credits if they train incumbent workers as part of their project; companies will include training costs in the total project budget.